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US Troops Deploy in Somalia after 20 years

By Nangayi Guyson- nangayi.guyson@alleastafrica.com

Kampala, Uganda- The US government has deployed Dozens of soldiers to Somali to train and equip the county’s forces and AMISOM (African Union Mission in Somalia) forces fighting extremism, U.S. military officials told VOA.

The deployment marks the first presence of American military forces in Somali since March 1993 when they pullout after two helicopters were shot down in the Somali capital, Mogadishu.

According to the US Africa Command, the latest deployment will help to train the Somalia National Army (SNA). The about 40 troops are to be deployed from the 101st Airborne Division.

“United States Africa Command will conduct various security cooperation and/or security force assistance events in Somalia in order to assist our allies and partners,” U.S. Africa Command spokesman Pat Barnes told VOA on Thursday.

The move is another example of the acceleration of U.S. efforts to help combat violent extremism across the globe.

The goal of the operation is to build partner capacity while helping to improve the logistics of local forces battling the military group al-Shabab.

The U.S. usually has a small unit of between 3 and 50 American troops in Somalia supporting U.S.-Somali military-to-military relations, and advising and assisting Somali troops. The new arrivals from the 101st Airborne Division will not be added to the mission of those Americans currently on the ground in Somalia, according to military official but there will be some overlap.

Last week, Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed called on al-Shabab fighters to surrender within 60 days in return for education and jobs.

But days later, a car bomb targeted senior officials leaving a military base in Mogadishu, killing at least 15 people and destroying a minibus carrying civilians, the Somali military said. Al-Shabab militants claimed responsibility.

President Donald Trump recently authorized an expanded military role in Somalia that included carrying out more aggressive measures against the insurgents who has terrorized since for more than two decades.

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